The finely-poised championship battle between Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher produced a hard-fought scrap on the first lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
|Michael Schumacher||Nico Rosberg|
|Qualifying time comparison (Q3)||1’40.662 (+0.889)||1’39.773|
Mercedes drivers’ lap times throughout the race (in seconds):
|Pit stop 1||Soft 19.66s|
|Pit stop 2||Medium 20.638s|
Schumacher seemed to have an unhealthy predilection for Yas Marina’s many run-off areas during practice, often ducking out of the braking zones and scurrying across the wide expanses of tarmac between the track’s chicanes.
He lined up eighth on the grid, the best part of a second slower than his team mate. He’d had to do an extra run in Q1 – using an extra set of softs – as he briefly came under threat of elimination from Heikki Kovalainen.
Schumacher got ahead of Rosberg on the run to turn two but was held up by Felipe Massa at the hairpin, allowing Rosberg to get a run on him going into turn eight.
He defended hard from his team mate, squeezing him to the very inside of the corner, and briefly succeeded in holding the place.
But Rosberg came back at him on the following straight, got down the inside, and gave Schumacher a taste of his own tactics by pushing him wide at the exit of turn 11.
Schumacher slipped from his team mate during the race, partly because he lacked the benefit of a new set of soft tyres for his middle stint.
He lost part of his front wing later on which cost him some downforce, and he began to develop a slow puncture in the final laps. He was able to fend off Adrian Sutil but pulled over after taking the chequered flag.
|Pit stop 1||Soft 19.785s|
|Pit stop 2||Medium 19.907s|
Rosberg took up his customary seventh place on the grid, where he has started half of this year’s races from.
He was pushed onto the run-off at turn one by Massa, which caused him to drop behind Schumacher, though he fought back strongly to reclaim the position.
He ran long in his second stint in an effort to close on Massa. This became a serious possibility when the Ferrari driver had his spin, and the pair ended the race less than two seconds apart with Rosberg closing in.
2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix